Curator of Contemporary Art, Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum
Anne Ellegood is curator of contemporary art at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the Hirshhorn, she was the New York-based Curator for Peter Norton’s collection, and from 1998-2003 she was the associate curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Since arriving at the Hirshhorn in 2005, she has organized several exhibitions, including Directions: Jim Lambie; The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculpture; Amy Sillman: First Person Singular; and The Cinema Effect: Reality, Illusion, and the Moving Image Realisms, co-organized with Kristen Hileman. Her project Terence Gower: Public Spirit is currently on view through March 22. Her piece on Jimmie Durham for their ‘1000 Words’ series will be published in the January issue of Artforum. Ellegood received her Master’s of Art from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and she currently teaches at The Center for the Study of Modern Art, University of Illinois at The Phillips.
President, SEIU Healthcare 775NW
David Rolf is Vice President of the 2-million member SEIU (the Service Employees International Union) and President of SEIU Healthcare 775NW, the union for long term care workers in the northwest. He has spent 17 years in the labor movement organizing low-wage workers to gain a voice at work and to hold politicians accountable. Through championing arts merge with popular culture, Rolf has helped advance working family issues with an innovative perspective. In the 1990’s, he led the break-through union organizing campaign of 74,000 minimum-wage Los Angeles home care workers. Today his projects include health care reform, creating new training and workforce development career paths for health care workers, and continuing to grow the union. Mr. Rolf grew up in a union household in Cincinnati and today lives in West Seattle.
Thievery Corporation and ESL Music
Eric Hilton is the co-founder, with Rob Garza, of Eighteenth Street Lounge, Thievery Corporation, and the ESL Music label and studio. With Thievery Corporation and the international musicians on the ESL label, Eric has worked to forge a truly international music style accompanied by a committed political awareness. Since 1995, Eric and Rob have experimented widely in electronic music and in DJ and dub styles for creating a distinctive sound that blends American funk, rock, jazz, and club beats with bossa nova, reggae dub, and Indian music styles. Eric is widely recognized for advancing the Washington, D.C. music scene and for creating an open collaborative practice that draws from the best musicians and music cultures from around the world. Thievery Corporation released their incendiary fifth independent studio album, Radio Retaliation, in September 2008. The album finds inspiration in the uncompromising political music of groups like the Clash, Public Enemy, and Fela Kuti and is without a doubt Thievery Corporation’s broadest and most progressive album yet. The album imparts tough socio-political messages largely absent from today’s popular music. Eric also recently opened the Marvin restaurant and club in DC, which has become a destination for the music and art community.
MoveOn.org Creative & Cultural Director, Artist
Laura Dawn has served as the Creative and Cultural Director of MoveOn.org since 2003. Her campaigns have changed not only the way citizens participate in politics, but also how artists instigate social change. Dawn co-created the “Bush in 30 Seconds” ad contest, and co-created and co-organized dozens of innovative national campaigns combining the grassroots with established artists. Campaigns include: the “10 Weeks” ad campaign with film luminaries Richard Linklater, Darren Aronofsky, Doug Liman, Rob Reiner, Matt Damon, Allison Anders and many others; the “Video Vets” campaign with dozens of returning Iraq veterans, military family members, and Academy-Award-winning film director Oliver Stone; the “Vote for Change” concert tour; the “Obama in 30 Seconds” ad contest; and many other nationally-recognized creative campaigns that have combined the power of artists and activists.
An accomplished singer and songwriter, Laura collaborated with Moby on his multi-platinum-selling album Hotel and has toured the world as his featured singer. In 2005, Laura compiled and edited the book It Takes a Nation: How Strangers Became Family in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina, the story of MoveOn.org Civic Action’s Hurricane Housing program that housed over 30,000 Gulf Coast evacuees in the weeks following the storm.
Robbie Conal grew up in Manhattan, the son of two union organizers. He moved to Los Angeles and made “nasty little black and white oil portraits of ugly old politicians and bureaucrats from both political parties, televangelists and global capitalists. ” Conal then invited anyone and everyone to join his irregular guerrilla army, successfully taking those images to the streets of every major city around the country, solidifying his place in political street art history. Conal has taken on serious social issues including: censorship, Supreme Court rulings, police misconduct and environmental issues.
As the country's premiere guerrilla street poster artist, his work has been featured by almost every major news outlet, sparking nationwide and inspiring generations of poster activists. Conal won a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant, a Getty Individual Artist Grant, a Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Individual Artist's Grant (COLA), and many other accolades. He is a celebrated author, traveling world wide to speak about non-sanctioned public art. Conal is an adjunct professor in the School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California and is lauded as a living legend of urban street art and a hero to activists world-wide who fight in the streets against abuses of political power.
Artist, Obey Giant
Born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1970, Shepard Fairey is a contemporary artist, graphic designer and illustrator. Fairey graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1992 with a BA in illustration. He is one of the most prolific and infamous urban artists, known worldwide for his iconic image of Andre the Giant and his “Obey” campaign in countless variations, stenciled and wheat-pasted on walls around the world for almost 20 years. In addition to continuing the “Obey” project, Shepard founded Studio Number One, a creative studio, bringing together a team of highly skilled graphic designers to create commercial art and advertising. Shepard’s political irony transformed into reality this year when his “HOPE” poster became an icon of the Obama campaign and the values it represents. His “PROGRESS,” “HOPE,” and “CHANGE” posters have made a huge impact in the visibility of the Obama campaign; Senator Obama himself personally thanked Fairey for making this art. Shepard Fairey currently resides in Los Angeles, California. http://www.obeygiant.com/
Producer, director, actor.
No stranger to controversy, in both his films and public statements, Lee often takes a critical look at race relations, political issues and urban crime and violence. His film, Do The Right Thing was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1989. Subsequent films continued to explore social and political issues and in 1997 4 Little Girls was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. After Hurricane Katrina, Lee spread awareness about social and political injustices with the film When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. Currently, Lee teaches film at New York University and Columbia University using film as a means of expression for the collective conscience, inspiring action and accountability among both his students and viewers.
Author, Founder Green for All & Co-Founder Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
Van Jones is working to combine solutions to America’s two biggest problems: social inequality and environmental destruction. Jones is a founding president of Green For All, a national organization dedicated to building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Jones also co-founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which advocates for juvenile justice reform, police reform, youth violence prevention and green-collar jobs. The Center?s ?Books Not Bars? campaign has successfully blocked construction of a super-jail for youth, closed two abusive youth prisons and helped to reduce California?s youth prison population by 30 percent.
Van’s dual roles have given him a unique perspective on the country’s problems and its potential solutions. Under the slogan “green jobs, not jails,” Van Jones today is calling for green economic development in urban America. Jones authored “The Green Collar Economy”, a highly acclaimed book that successfully link between the struggle to restore the environment and the need to revive the US economy.
In the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, Van helped to found ColorOfChange.org, an online advocacy organization. With more than 400,000 members, Color Of Change is now the nation’s biggest e-advocacy organization tackling Black issues. Van Jones is a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress, and is a board member of 1sky, The Appolo Alliance and a fellow of The Institute Noetic Sciences. A 1993 Yale Law graduate, Van is a husband and the father of two small boys.